Category News

How We Can Protect Our Wandering Sharks

Thresher Shark

Conservation of our natural world has never been so important; in fact, the environmental journalist John Vidal called biodiversity loss a “crisis even bigger than climate change.” Thirty-one percent of the world’s sharks and rays are threatened with extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

These declines led to an interest in their conservation and sustainable management and one of the ways scientists and conservationists are coming together to protect sharks and marine biodiversity is through marine protected areas. Known better by their acronym, MPA, they are like the national parks we have on land in that human activities are strictly regulated than the surrounding area (or in this case, waters).

These places are given special pr...

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Florida Divers break world record with ocean clean-up

A massive team of divers have broken the Guinness World Record for the largest underwater cleanup. The team of 633 people organised by Dixie Divers in Florida picked up litter from the seabed near the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier on Saturday.

The marine conservation non-profit project AWARE and the scuba diving agency PADI also supported the event, aiming to show how conservation is bringing people together more than ever before.

Arlington Pavan, who owns the Dixie Divers facility, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on the weekend: “It’s amazing to see everybody here, happy, just amazing.

“The last record took 24 hours and we did it in two hours, so it’s amazing.”

The Sun Sentinel reported that the Dixie Divers team broke the last record from 2...

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Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says

The level of carbon now in the atmosphere hasn’t been seen in 12 million years, a Harvard scientist said in Chicago Thursday, and this pollution is rapidly pushing the climate back to its state in the Eocene Epoch, more than 33 million years ago, when there was no ice on either pole.

“We have exquisite information about what that state is, because we have a paleo record going back millions of years, when the earth had no ice at either pole. There was almost no temperature difference between the equator and the pole,” said James Anderson, a Harvard University professor of atmospheric chemistry best known for establishing that chlorofluorocarbons were damaging the Ozone Layer.

“The ocean was running almost 10ºC warmer all the way to the bottom than it is today,” Anderson said of thi...

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Why Overfishing Must Stop

Overfishing means to deplete the stock of fish, in other words, fish the ocean to its limits. Overfishing is one of the many problems in the world but unfortunately not a lot of people know about this problem. 

Overfishing causes problems in the food chain, since fish are a big factor and consumers in the food chain fishing too much can turn into a big problem. People in some parts of the world are experiencing invasive species such as rays and jellyfish and the cause is… overfishing. 

Fish help the ocean become healthier. Coral reefs help with the biodiversity in the seas by offering homes for all kinds of marine species, fish help the coral reefs by eating sea urchins, weeds, and stop diseases from spending.

Protecting fish is important so they can live and help balance the e...

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Scientists predict huge ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico

A near record-size “dead zone” of oxygen-starved water could form in the Gulf of Mexico this summer, threatening its huge stocks of marine life, researchers said.

The area could spread over 8,700 square miles, scientists at Louisiana State University said Monday. That’s about the size of the state of Massachusetts. It’s also well above the five-year average of 5,770 square miles.

Experts blamed unusually high rainfall across the Midwest this spring that washed farm fertilizers along streams and rivers through the Mississippi River basin into the gulf.

The nutrients in the fertilizers feed algae that die, decompose and deplete the water of oxygen, the Louisiana scientists said.

“When the oxygen is below two parts per million, any shrimp, crabs and fish that can swim awa...

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Japan set to resume commercial whaling after 30 years

JAPAN will begin hunting whales for commercial purposes next month for the first time in more than 30 years after pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Five vessels will set off from six different whaling operators on July 1 in the first commercial whaling operation since 1986. Japan joined the global body for the conservation of whales in 1982, ceasing operations four years later. But the country had continued to hunt between 200 and 1,200 whales each year for scientific reasons, selling the meat on afterwards for consumer purposes. 

Eating whale is seen to be part of Japanese culture even though consumption has fallen dramatically since the 1960s. 

Pro-whaling nations expected the IWC to be a temporary measure until a sustainable catch quota was formed but ...

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Blue belt zones to protect minke whales

Special protections are planned for minke whales and basking sharks in their feeding grounds around Scotland.A consultation has been launched on creating four new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering 5,000 square miles of sea.

The Scottish government said the proposals were a world first and would also protect Risso’s dolphins and a wide range of other biodiversity.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation charity said it was “delighted.”

The proposed sites are at the southern trench in the outer Moray Firth, north east Lewis, the Sea of the Hebrides and Shiant East Bank.

MPAs are sometimes referred to as the “blue belt”.

There are areas of sea in which species and habitats benefit from special protections such as prohibiting fishing or dredging.

The management of each zone...

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UK gains 41 new Marine Conservation Zones

The Wildlife Trusts has welcomed the news that the Government is designating a third phase of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). This historic move will help protect the seas around our shores and follows on from previous announcements of 50 MCZs (in 2013 and 2016). It is the third of three phases promised by the Government in order to fulfil the remit of the Marine and Coastal Access Act. 

The 41 new MCZs are special places and include cold water corals, forests of sea fans, rocky canyons and sandbanks – an astonishingly varied range of submerged landscapes which support the stunning diversity of marine life found in the UK...

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Tiny, Snackable Fish Are Linchpins of Reef Ecosystems

The foundation of massive, flashy and dazzling coral reefs may be a group of fish almost too small to see. New research suggests a group of fish species called cryptobenthics are the fuel that feeds coral reef ecosystems. Most cryptobenthic fish weigh just a fraction of a gram each—but they make up more than half of all fish flesh consumed on reefs each year, says study leader Simon Brandl, a postdoctoral researcher in marine ecology at Simon Fraser University.

Millions of humans rely on bigger reef fish for food, but how reef ecosystems sustain such a bounty of species in tropical oceans that are low in plant nutrients has been a longstanding mystery that the new work could help explain.

“It’s actually frustrating how little we know as scientists about coral reef ecosystems,” s...

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Mysterious surge in dead gray whales concerns scientists

Ocean scientists are concerned about dead gray whales that have washed up on the US West Coast this year at the highest rate in almost two decades. As of Thursday night, 58 gray whales have landed ashore from California to Alaska, compared to 45 for all of last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Some were underweight, leading scientists to think they did not have enough food.”Why these whales are malnourished is the mystery we are trying to unravel,” NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein said.

“Something is going on.”The last time researchers saw such high numbers was in 2000, when 131 deaths were documented.Climate change could be contributing, Milstein said. “That’s an angle they’re investigating,” he said. “We don’t know anything for sure at this time...

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